Saturday, May 20, 2017 1:34 PM Local Time
Budding Ohio pro scores a big boost to his confidence, bankroll
Steve Dees is the newest two-time winner on the World Series of Poker Circuit. Dees outlasted a field of 339 entries in the $365 six-max event at Harrah’s New Orleans, winning his second gold ring and the top prize of $25,423. He also collected 50 points in the race for Casino Champion at this venue and in the season-long race for seats in the Global Casino Championship.
“Oh my gosh!” Dees was at a loss for words as his postgame interviews began. “Man… golly… I’m just feeling so thankful. I’m thankful to be able to even do this. It’s humbling.”
Dees is a 29-year-old professional poker player from Dayton, Ohio. He's been living in Charlotte, North Carolina for the past few years, but there’s still no place like home. “My heart is in Ohio,” he said. “Dayton is home. Even when you get away, you still find your roots.”
Late in 2015, Dees gave up his career in import/export logistics to take a shot at playing the game full-time. A few months later, he took down the Monster Stack at Harrah’s Atlantic City, affirming his decision with a gold ring and a $20k score.
After being forced to take a step back from the game in the time since, Dees appears to be back in business. “I experienced a little pitfall over the last year or so and had to stop traveling,” he said. “So to get back on the Circuit — this is so validating.”
Although new to the area, Dees has already embedded himself in the Charlotte poker community, and he credits that group for helping keep his game sharp. “Man, just the support; everybody showered down congrats at me,” he said. “I feel like I’m an extremely good player, but only because I’ve been surrounded by other good players.”
The run to this victory was a difficult one for the new two-time winner. He entered the final table as one of the shorter stacks, but he eventually picked his way into a heads-up match against fellow ring winner Jason Maeroff. At one point early in the duel, Dees was flipping for his tournament life with ace-queen and one card from elimination, but a timely queen on the river saved his tournament life and doubled him into the chip lead.
Maeroff doubled right back before Dees was finally able to put him away, ending the heavy-hitting match with pocket jacks against Maeroff’s ace-nine in a preflop confrontation. Coincidentally, the two players had exactly the same chip count to begin the final hand, the same unusual situation by which Dees won his first ring last season, too.
As he continued to talk about his Ohio roots and the poker community from which he draws support, the happy-go-lucky Dees let a bit of emotion through: “Golly, man. I’m just so — you know how just get that feeling of just being so thankful? I could cry right now, you know what I mean? Golly.”
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:40 PM Local Time
Steve Dees (pictured above) has just put the finishing touches on the second Circuit victory of his short career as a professional poker player.
In the final hand of the heads-up match, Dees limps the button, and Jason Maeroff moves all in for 1,675,000 in the big blind — more than 50 big blinds. Dees has exactly that count, too, and he calls all in to put both himself and Maeroff at risk. As long as they don't chop the pot, this is going to be the last hand of the tournament one way or the other.
The board runs out , and Dees' jacks hold to earn him the pot and the title. It's the second Circuit victory for the 29-year-old pro from Dayton, Ohio, and this one comes with another ring and more than $25,000 in cash.
Maeroff (below) falls just short of what would have been his own second victory on the Circuit. He's eliminated as the runner-up, collecting $15,711.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:42 PM Local Time
Steve Dees moves all in for 776,000 effective on the button, and Jason Maeroff calls all in for that amount, putting himself at risk.
It's a flip for the title once again, and once again, it's too elusive at the moment. The board runs out , and Mearoff turns a pair of tend to double back into contention.
Jason Maeroff - 1,560,000 (65 bb)
Steve Dees - 1,830,000 (76 bb)
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:34 PM Local Time
Steve Dees limps the button for the minimum 24,000, and Jason Maeroff moves all in for 1,384,000 effective in the big blind. Dees calls all in for that amount, putting himself at risk and flipping for his tournament life.
The first four cards are safe for Maeroff on the run-out, and he's suddenly one card from a ring. The river is the , though, and Dees steals the pot with a pair of queens, doubling into the chip lead.
Steve Dees - 2,776,000 (116 bb)
Jason Maeroff - 614,000 (26 bb)
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 4:46 PM Local Time
flop, Jason Maeroff checks from the small blind, and Blake Baker bets 300,000 from the button — about three times the size of the pot. Maeroff check-raises all in with the larger stack, and Baker calls all in for about 900,000 at the 10,000/20,000 level, putting himself at risk.
Baker: (pair of eights)
Maeroff: (set of deuces)
The turn leaves Baker drawing dead to the river, and he's eliminated in third place. Thanks to that big pot, Maeroff takes a big lead into a deep-stacked heads-up match against Stephen Dees. Both men are already WSOP Circuit ring winners, and one of them will add another their collection this evening.
Jason Maeroff - 2,235,000 (112 bb)
Stephen Dees - 1,155,000 (56 bb)
Blake Baker - Eliminated
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 4:32 PM Local Time
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 4:04 PM Local Time
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 4:03 PM Local Time
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 3:39 PM Local Time
With the elimination of Brandon Rowbatham (pictured) in seventh place, the remaining six are now officially at the final table. Here's the lineup:
Seat 1: Blake Baker - 1,530,000
Seat 2: Jason Maeroff - 610,000
Seat 3: Ross Clare - 240,000
Seat 4: Steve Dees - 491,000
Seat 5: Matt Sheppard - 144,000
Seat 6: John Cressend - 601,000
Everyone left has earned a pay jump up to a minimum of $3,914.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 2:43 PM Local Time
Blake Baker did finally arrive during seven-handed play, taking a seat behind his now-dangerously short stack of about 10 big blinds. He's gone on to spin it up, though, doubling up twice over the course of the last two orbits and winning a pot or two in between, too.
Baker is suddenly up over 600,000 chips and appears to be the chip leader of the final seven.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 2:24 PM Local Time
The day's first three elimination happen quickly. Jared Manuel falls in 10th place, then four-time ring winner David Nicholson (pictured) just a moment later in ninth. Josh Hillock is an accomplished tournament pro himself, and the rest of the field is likely content to see him exit in eighth place shortly thereafter. The final seven players are now seated at one table.
Blake Baker has laddered through three knockouts despite having yet to show up for Day 2.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 1:59 PM Local Time
Nine of the 10 remaining players are here on time — Blake Baker is not — and the cards are in the air for Day 2.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 1:23 AM Local Time
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 1:23 AM Local Time
The clock has run out on Level 21, and that signals the end of Day 1 for this event. The starting field of 339 entries has been trimmed to 10 players, and they'll return tomorrow to settle the score.
David Nicholson is the standout of the remaining field. The four-time ring winner has put himself in good position to add his name to the list of five-timers, a feat two other players have achieved during the past two Circuit stops. He'll have his work cut out for him, though; Nicholson finished the day with 224,000 chips, third from the bottom of the overnight leaderboard.
Chip Counts | Seat Draw
The 11 remaining players will return to action Tuesday to play down to a winner, with the ring and a top prize of $25,423 reserved for the last one standing. Blinds will be 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante when play resumes, putting the average stack just north of 25 big blinds.
Day 2 begins at 2 p.m.
Monday, May 15, 2017 10:26 PM Local Time
Just a few minutes after Level 18 begins, the field is reduced to 18 players, and the've just redrawn for new seats around the final three tables. Four-time ring winner David Nicholson is still in contention, as is Doug Carli, the Circuit's all-time most prolific casher.
There are about two and a half hours of Day 1 action remaining.
Monday, May 15, 2017 8:28 PM Local Time
It took less than 15 levels of action to play down from 339 entries to 36 players. That milestone has just been reached, and the remaining field is now in the money in Event #6.
Blinds are 1,200/2,400 with a 400 ante and an average stack approaching 40 big blinds, and play is scheduled to continue tonight until the end of Level 21.
Monday, May 15, 2017 3:43 PM Local Time
With registration closed, the numbers are in for Event #6. This $365 six-max event drew 339 entries, creating a prizepool worth $101,700. That money will be shared by the final 36 players, with a min-cash worth $534. The ring and a top prize of $25,423 will go to the winner sometime late tomorrow night.
Monday, May 15, 2017 3:29 PM Local Time
The field is in the midst of it's second break of the day at the conclusion of Level 8. When the new level begins, the registration period will close, so this represents the last chance to join or re-join the Event #6 field. There are more than 330 entries at the moment.
The prizepool will be released shortly after the close of registration.
Monday, May 15, 2017 1:01 PM Local Time
Level 4 is just ticking down to zero, and the field is headed off for the first break of the day. There are already about 240 entries into this six-max event, with late registration and unlimited re-entries available for another two and a half hours.
Monday, May 15, 2017 1:12 AM Local Time
It's Monday in New Orleans, and the day's only ring event begins this morning. The $365 six-max event is always popular with those who like a little extra legroom at the tables, and it will occupy the majority of the tournament room today.
Last season, Louisiana Attorney Brandon Guillory outlasted a field of 262 entries in this event, winning his first ring and a $20,830 reward for an impressive performance. The part-time player had to deal with Bernard Lee, Neil Scott, and John Dolan in four-handed play, but he bested them all, ultimately defeating Dolan heads-up to secure an emotional win.
Here are the detail's for this morning's event:
- This is a two-day event
- Players begin with 10,000 in tournament chips
- Levels 1-12 are 30 minutes apiece
- Levels 13-21 are 40 minutes apiece
- Late registration and unlimited re-entries are available until the start of Level 9 (3:30 p.m.)
- Day 1 concludes after Level 21
Cards go in the air at 11 a.m.